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The Theory of Troop Combinations

In boom beach there are 4 troop functions: healers, damage dealers, rushers, and shields (in game theory these are more often called tanks, but Boom Beach has literal tanks so I will refrain from using that term). The various troop types fulfill one or more of these functions based on four properties. When discussing these properties it is important to note that we rarely talk about individual troops. We mostly care about the sum of a whole landing crafts worth of troop. So for example when we talk about a tank's damage per second we are talking about all how much damage all three tanks on a landing craft do.

Properties

Damage Per Second

DPS (for short) is the holy grail of boom beach. How much damage can a landing craft of troops do in a second. Zookas are by far the queens of Boom Beach DPS doing nearly twice as much damage as the second place troop. Rifflemen are second, followed closely by warriors. On the rear end of the spectrum you have grenadiers, heavies, and the lowly scorcher (that does the least amount of damage of all troops).

Survivability

The first thing to note is that is do not use HP for this trait. Survivability in boom beach is a more complicated thing in Boom Beach than can be expressed with a number like HP. This is simply because you are not actually trying to soak up the most damage. You are trying to survive for the longest amount of time.

The typical example is the use of rifflemen against boom cannon. As an example there is a group of 4 boom cannon with 138% ice boost. Each boom cannon fires once every 4 seconds for 10472 damage. Lets see how a single landing craft of various troop types fair against this fortification. We will give a minimum and maximum (the minimum happens when the boom cannons attack different troops with each volley, the maximum is when they all attack the same troop with each volley).

Troop Count Minimum Maximum
Tanks 3 0 sec 12 sec
Heavies 6 4 sec 24 sec
Scorcher 1 0 sec 0 sec
Rifflemen 24 8 sec 96 sec

So, a troop's survivability is dependent on the HP of the troop, the number of that troop type in a landing craft, and the attributes of the defenses being attacked. The most survivable troops are the scorcher (highest HP), rifflemen (highest troop count), heavies (good combination), and tanks (good combination). The least survivable troops are grenadiers and medics.

Positioning or Range

This is about where troops of a certain type will stand in relation to each other and the fortification that you are attacking. It makes no sense for instance to put a troop with low survivability in front of a troop with high survivability. It makes not sense to use a troop that brings healers in range of attack.

Healing Per Second

Not really much to say about this one. There is only one troop that heals and he has no other function than to heal. There are no trade offs between troops that heal and do damage at the same time. The only trade off that you have is if you should include a healing troop at all.

Roles

Healers

Healers are easy. These are troops that heal other troops. In Boom Beach Medics are the only troop that fills this role. As a general rule the longer an attack is going to take the more likely medics will be helpful. The more time they have to throw their heal potions the more likely they are going to be able to make up for the fact that they do not attack and don't act as an effective shield. The ideal troop type to use healers with is slow, with high HP and does medium damage. Under these conditions the healer is a net positive rather than a wasted landing craft.

Damage Dealers

Damage Dealers obviously deal the damage. The ideal damage dealer does not have to be survivable it just needs to do a lot of damage. Zookas and tanks are the only real damage dealers in the game. Sometimes early in the game rifflemen are used as damage dealers but this tactic shortly becomes less effective.

Shields

Shields soak up damage from defenses so that the damage dealers can do damage. It is great if they can do some damage, but really what you want from these troops is for them to die out slowly so your damage dealers can do do their job. The best shield for an attack is the one that has the highest level of survivability for the defense combinations you are attacking.

Rushers

The rusher is a troop that does not need to be combined with another troop to be effective. It is tempting to think of rushers as simply a damage dealer that brings its own shield, but thinking in those terms risks missing the primary tactical difference between shield/damage dealer tactics and rusher tactics. With a rusher the primary thinking in determining your path should be the number of defenses in range. For shield/damage dealer tactics your primary though in determining your pathway should be ensuring your shield stays between the defenses and your damage dealers. Common rushers are warriors, rifflemen, zookas, and tanks.

Blue Chip Combinations

No one ever got fired for buying IBM. These combinations are very versatile. The vast majority of Boom Beach players use one of these combinations almost exclusively.

Situational Combinations

These combinations are generally not the focus of a players strategy. They will get destroyed if used against the wrong base. However, in the right situation these combinations are deadly.

Training Wheels Combinations

These combinations are effective, but they are corruptions of a more effective combination. They are a little easier to use, but a little less effective than the real thing.


Less Useful Combinations

It is possible to win with these combinations, but you probably should not use them. There are just better attacks than these. You will note that grenadiers are the common element in all of them. Grenadiers are the weakest troop type in the game. It is fun to use them as a challenge, but if your goal is to do the strongest attack possible they should not be used.

Bad Ideas

Utterly Stupid Ideas